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New BP water tower draws crowds

Blooming Prairie, water tower, new landmark
Columns that will be installed on the Blooming Prairie water tower. The columns and base make the tower look like a rocket ship. The tower will go up 154 feet. It is to be standing by the end of February. Staff photo by Howard Lestrud
Howard Lestrud, Contributing Writer

All small communities make a strong effort to have a good-looking water tower that will turn visitors’ heads.

The City of Blooming Prairie has been abuzz about its new water tower. Maguire Iron of Sioux Falls is building it and will also take down the old one, rumored to be a century old.

A ground storage tank holding 200,000 gallons of water was constructed by Wapasha Construction, Winona. The new elevated tank, located at 135 2nd Ave. SE, will hold 100,000 gallons of water; the current one holds 65,000 gallons.

Opposition to removal

The original tower, which can be seen looking west from First Baptist Church, was built in the early 1900s. Rust and an unsealed tank, along with lead paint that would have to be removed, forced the city to abandon the idea of repairing it.

There was opposition to taking down the old tower, but cooler heads prevailed due to the projected high costs. Jerry Mausbach, Blooming Prairie Utilities manager, said it would cost almost as much to repair the old tower as it would to build a new one.

“We gave people advance notice that a new tower was needed,” he said.

With a laugh, Mausbach added, “I’ll sell the old tower to you for a buck.”

The new Blooming Prairie landmark should be ready by June 1, when the city plans to unveil the 154-foot-tall, sphere-shaped water tower.

The old cone-shaped, silver tower will be history by that time. Many of the water towers of yesteryear were built with that same cookie-cutter cone shape, Mausbach said.

COVID increases

The Blooming Prairie Utilities Commission approved the winning $1.3 million construction bid submitted by Maguire Iron. The cost of the project has risen to $1.5 million. COVID caused construction prices to increase.

The only other bid received was from Caldwell Inc. of Louisville, Ky. The BP Public Utilities Commission of Dennis Heimermann, Amy Doerhoefer, and Mike Ressler approved the water tower bid.

Construction began last October.

“The tank is 20 feet deep, and we will only see two feet above ground,” said Mausbach.

The water tower will be very colorful, with the city’s new logo and flowers on both sides. An appointed committee of Marcie Sundine, H. Peterson, Greg Johnson, Willie Olson, and Mary Kittelson judged the “Create a Water Tower Logo” contest. Winning designer was Carol Iverson.

Mausbach said the tower construction has drawn large crowds.  The tower should be standing by the end of February, said Mausbach.

The tank is about 30 feet up at the present time. Columns surrounding the tank will be 60 feet in length.

Final paint and logos will be added at the end of May, Mausbach predicted. He said he would like to see the city add lighting to the tower as the City of Faribault did on its tower built near Interstate 35.

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